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Age Discrimination???

 
 
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 08:05 pm
My wife is from a foreign country, and although she has a BA and MA from her own country, the major is one in which you can't really find work or make money in America. Four and a half years ago, she went back to school and got a degree in a common med tech field. I don't want to be very specific about any of this on the off chance that someone who knows her or is in a position to hire her reads it.

They required her to complete two years of prerequisites and then she went through the two year degree program, so that's a total of four years. She got an A in every class, and usually a really high A. So, she has a 4.0. She took the national certification exam and got almost 100%. During her education, she was required to perform the job function under the supervision (although really sometimes not) of licensed techs at a number of area hospitals. Many of the students with her on these assignments, particularly the very young ones, spent all day on their cell phones, or "hid" from work, or took long lunches. One was actually suspended from the program for this kind of thing. My wife didn't. In fact, sometimes when her shift ended, she went to one of the other departments she had been in previously and asked if they needed any help. She was very diligent. Recently, she met a student in the year after her who was doing her rotation in a hospital where my wife had been and the girl told her, "You're a legend there." The idea is that she was hard-working and almost like a licensed tech. Accordingly, she has really good letters of recommendation.

In the half year or so since she graduated, she has applied to every hospital within about 30 miles and hasn't been granted a single interview. Mostly they simply don't respond to her application. I gather that this is about 15 hospitals or medical centers. The non-hospital facilities pretty much never hire new graduates, so there is little point in trying them. She is very hurt and depressed about it.

I can think of three possible factors causing this. First of all, when her class took the national certification exam, only my wife's certificate was lost and never received. After a week or two, when all of her friends had received their certificates and she had not, she called the organization that issues them and they said, "we do not entertain inquiries about lost certificates until 30 days after the examination." She called again once or twice, but they wouldn't budge. When she called on day 31, they agreed to send a replacement. By then, many of her colleagues already had jobs.

The second factor is age discrimination. My wife is just over 40. From her graduating class, every person below 40, mostly in their 20s, save one has been hired, even the ones who used to skip class, hide from work during their rotations, and ask my wife for her class notes a day or two before exams. Of the graduates over 40, only one was hired, but he had to move across the country and he was only hired part time. It sure looks like age discrimination to me.

The third factor is this. Eight or nine years ago, there was a shortage of workers in her specialty in the area and the hospitals were offering big inducements to get people to take jobs. Since then, other schools have started programs in this specialty and now the market has more techs in proportion to the available jobs.

It makes me sad and seems unfair. She worked extremely hard for four years, got pretty much the highest grades possible, and has great references which no one has read, since she cannot get an interview. She has visited her old bosses, colleagues, and teachers at some of the hospitals to try to network, and a few have even made calls for her, but the people doing the hiring act like she's not there, and this is also true for the other graduates her age. Unlike my field, there is a pretty limited number of places where she could be hired. There are no job placement firms for her field. I don't know what to tell her except to keep trying, but it's hard to watch, and there really seems to be an element of age discrimination. Shouldn't the hospitals want graduates who worked hard, got good grades, and have good references?
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Type: Question • Score: 15 • Views: 9,261 • Replies: 207

 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 08:38 pm
@Brandon9000,
I had somewhat similar experiences after acquiring an associate degree, though far from everyone in the class found appropriate jobs. Forty sounds a little on the young side to be going through this, but I don't doubt it a bit.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 08:51 pm
@Brandon9000,
I am sorry to hear this, Brandon. 40 seems still on the young side, but you never know - depending on the area you live in.

One thing your wife could do, in order to get her foot into the door, is to ask for an internship. She could contact the hospitals and ask if she could work there for 6 weeks weeks (without pay) as an intern to gain more experience. Very rarely do hospitals say No to interns, as usually they need all the help they can get.

Once your wife is there and can show her abilities and her dedication, I am sure she'll be hired from the spot. It's just a matter of getting your foot into the door.

Good luck for her!
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 09:24 pm
Thank you both. I agree, age discrimination for someone just over 40 is hard to figure. So she can only work there for 25 more years? Most people don't stay that long anyway. If she could just get an interview. I will ask her about the internship.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 10:55 pm
Quote:
she has applied to every hospital within about 30 miles and hasn't been granted a single interview. Mostly they simply don't respond to her application.



Unfortunately, this is a common experience of many job seekers these days no matter the age or industry.

There is so much competition for jobs, especially in the service industries, employers treat the process like a cattle call.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 08:09 am
@Butrflynet,
This. Plus it's possible that there is age discrimination. It is certain alive and well in America.

Have you tried pushing the placement department where she went to school?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 08:40 am
My first career was medical technology. I did that for about fifteen years, a few of those in clinical labs and lot more of them in research.. the happiest years in research. I worked at a well known university in part of a major department at the med school, except that our research facility was not in the main med building but one of the auxiliary med buildings. Being there a long time, I was aware of various hirings, and older people were hired there plenty of times, though this was back in the sixties and seventies. Maybe or maybe not that is still true. They probably had some previous working experience, but I remember one woman we hired sans job experience but good school creds and a good interview (I was there for the interview). How did she get the interview? the university hospital had job listings, including research..

That was then, of course, but maybe she might enjoy research and jobs do
come up from time to time... probably sporadically.

edit, I just remembered - I didn't have any appropriate job experience when I was hired either, just my internship training, degree, and license.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 08:43 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

This. Plus it's possible that there is age discrimination. It is certain alive and well in America.

Have you tried pushing the placement department where she went to school?

There doesn't seem to be a placement department. At least such a thing has never been mentioned. She has spoken to her two main professors about it a few times and they just said to keep trying. Many of the other students, who now have jobs, asked her for help (which she gave) frequently during the program, but they were hired and she wasn't. Part of the reason why she succeeded academically was that she was willing to work from the early morning to the time she went to bed at night, and not because she was having so much fun. After making this monumental effort, she gets slapped in the face for it. I feel very sorry for her.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 09:22 am
I don't doubt for a moment that your wife is a true legend. She sounds like it, and sounds like someone that any employer would be glad to snap up.

Could she go back to one of those employees that said such glowing things about her, and ask that they recommend her to HR when an opening comes up? A lot of places have referral bonuses for employees recommending someone, who ends up getting hired and staying a certain amount of time.

Where I used to work, we had a tech that sounds a lot like your wife. If she recommended someone, we knew that person had to be gold, as this tech had such integrity.

Question: How do they know she's 40? While I agree with others this is low on the AD thing, what info is being provided on her resume that indicates her age?
Olivier5
 
  3  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 09:52 am
@Brandon9000,
If she's not even getting interviews, you may wish to review her CV and application letters with a toothpick so that the style and presentation look as "normal" as possible, and doesn't raise any flag whatsoever. I am a non-native speaker and know how hard it is to write in fluent, colloquial, natural English the way native speakers can do. Apply the classic rules of business writing with a passion: short sentences, no odd words, etc. And of course, no mention of age or nationality. Just like any CV out there she's competing with, just the A grades and recommendations quietly outlined for the reader's attention.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 10:54 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

I don't doubt for a moment that your wife is a true legend. She sounds like it, and sounds like someone that any employer would be glad to snap up.

Could she go back to one of those employees that said such glowing things about her, and ask that they recommend her to HR when an opening comes up? A lot of places have referral bonuses for employees recommending someone, who ends up getting hired and staying a certain amount of time.

Where I used to work, we had a tech that sounds a lot like your wife. If she recommended someone, we knew that person had to be gold, as this tech had such integrity.

Question: How do they know she's 40? While I agree with others this is low on the AD thing, what info is being provided on her resume that indicates her age?

She has asked fellow former students who are now working to look out for openings. I don't think she has asked them to make actual recommendations to HR. Typically, the hospitals post openings and she applies. What you suggest is worth considering, although it calls for a large action from a former colleague. She did go to visit a former instructor at a hospital once and he did make a very strong and enthusiastic call for her to a manager in the same facility, but it was completely ignored.

Her resume used to give her college degree dates back in her own country, which is sort of enough information to figure out her age, which is just over 40, but she took the dates out.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 11:01 am
@Brandon9000,
I can't help thinking it's not her age, but something people are misreading.

Then I think, "well, brandon is American, he would have caught something that looked/sounded funny to our ways."

It's a puzzlement.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 11:09 am
Without telling us the name of her country if you don't want to, could it be a factor? Could xenophobia be a bias?
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 12:31 pm
@Brandon9000,
I'd keep leaning on the network. And try LinkedIn and Monster.

I'd also go through her resume and really find ways to knock out anything that could be at all problematic. It's kind of a double-edged sword to leave out graduation dates. Yes, they hide your age (kind of), but they also raise a flag in hiring managers' minds. They wonder just how old you REALLY are. And she's not 60; she's 40. Either way, hiring managers are being jerks about it, but leaving the years off can make it even worse.

Here's something for laughs - what happens if she leaves all of her educational information off the resume, and ONLY shows the recent program? Or just adds something like she has a Bachelor's and a Master's in whatever her concentrations were, but the education section just leads with her program. Something like this -
Code:Susan Smith
EXPERIENCE
---

EDUCATION
Recent program, 2014
(description of program)

BA, English. MA, French Literature.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 12:34 pm
@Olivier5,
I would guess that could be a possibility.

Another mountain to climb is the formal process many organizations require themselves to follow to help eliminate future discrimination suits. They often either promote from within, or have essentially made the selection before the notice of opening is ever posted. They look like they're being impartial and do the same old thing.
chai2
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 03:21 pm
@jespah,
jes, I like that idea.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 04:21 pm
@roger,
My father had a hell of a time, for a bunch of reasons, but also major creds. The time I really got it was when he was hired at a major firm that closed soon after. Vice president for a week. This was in my teens.

That was RKO.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 04:27 pm
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Without telling us the name of her country if you don't want to, could it be a factor? Could xenophobia be a bias?

It's a country in Eastern Europe. As for her resume, I helped her with it a lot. I promise you that the English is fine. It's the same style that has gotten me jobs, and, for that matter, the same style that got my mother jobs. It looks pretty reasonable to me although I could be wrong.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 04:28 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

I would guess that could be a possibility.

Another mountain to climb is the formal process many organizations require themselves to follow to help eliminate future discrimination suits. They often either promote from within, or have essentially made the selection before the notice of opening is ever posted. They look like they're being impartial and do the same old thing.

But what about the fact that every classmate save one in their 20s was hired?
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2014 04:34 pm
@Olivier5,
My son had difficulty obtaining work. I helped ...rearranged and focused each resume to be tailored to the particular work app. I was amazed at the results. My sister obtained work in marketing, making more than I had ever in my entire professional life...I was stunned. She doesn't even have a college degree!! I had more skills, education...marketing oneself is very important.
0 Replies
 
 

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